E-health boost in Tassie bail-out

As part of a $325 million rescue package for the Tasmanian health system, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek has pledged $36.8 million to roll out the government's planned personally controlled electronic health record system.

As part of a $325 million rescue package for the Tasmanian health system, Health Minister Tanya Plibersek has pledged $36.8 million to roll out the government's planned personally controlled electronic health record system.

The Federal Government decided to reach out a helping hand to Tasmania, because the state's system wasn't coping with its older population and higher rates of chronic disease. Funding has been found for areas of need, including additional surgery facilities, chronic disease management and training, as well as e-health.

The Federal Government will provide $36.8 million over four years to roll out its personally controlled electronic health record in Tasmania's hospitals, and to enable allied health, pathology and diagnostic imaging services to connect to e-health systems.

Although the electronic health record system was expected to be ready for patents on 1 July, as it stands, patients will be able to register for an electronic health record, but not much else. GPs won't get the software to upload patient details to the system until later in the year, and there are other elements of the roll-out that are incomplete; for example, the system's authentication service, the National Authentication Service for Health (NASH), which was supposed to be completed by the end of this month.

IBM won a $23.6 million contract to roll out the service, using public key infrastructure and secure tokens, such as smart cards, to enable the secure exchange of e-health information. However, it was revealed last week that IBM was not finished working on the service.

National E-Health Transition Authority CEO Peter Fleming said that this lack of delivery would not delay the launch of the electronic e-health records system, with patients still able to register for a record, due to an "interim NASH" delivered by the Department of Human Services.

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